Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Businessman copies Zuma antics at state capture inquiry

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Feb 24, 2021

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Johannesburg - The commission of inquiry into state capture has summoned Swifambo director Auswell Mashaba after he adopted the same attitude as former president Jacob Zuma.

Evidence leader advocate Vas Soni announced on Tuesday that the commission is scheduled to hear Mashaba’s evidence on Wednesday, but he has indicated that he will not be appearing.

”We have summoned him. A summons has been issued, and we expect him to be here at 10 o’clock tomorrow (on Wednesday),” he said.

Soni said a rule 3.3 notice was served on Mashaba indicating that he had been implicated in evidence before the commission, but he did not respond.

The commission then handed Mashaba a regulation 10.6 directive for him to file an affidavit and he complied.

”Thereafter, we were not certain whether he would come because he didn’t indicate any positive response to the rule 3.3 notice. Therefore, we issued a summons for him to come tomorrow,” Soni said.

Mashaba’s attorney then wrote to the commission saying they are of the view that the summons is defective without giving any details on what is wrong with them, according to Soni.

Mashaba then informed the commission that he would not be appearing.

Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noted that the letter indicating that Mashaba would not be coming to give evidence was on the same day Zuma stood up the commission.

”I understood you to say that the commission received that letter a few minutes after I had adjourned those proceedings,” said Justice Zondo.

Soni said the commission’s legal team raised a similar point in its response to Mashaba.

”We noticed as soon as the letter came from the attorney, that it was at around 14.30 this is about the time proceedings of the commission ended last Monday, in regard to Zuma’s non-attendance. The decision that you personally announced,” he explained.

Justice Zondo said had the previous Friday raised for the first time that the summons were irregular without substantiating.

He said Mashaba’s attorney sent their letter not long after the commission’s proceedings relating to Zuma’s non-attendance were adjourned, stating that the summons were irregular or defective and would not be attending.

”Just like Mr Zuma’s attorneys, Mr Mashaba’s attorneys did not substantiate their contention that the summons was defective. They didn’t say what were the grounds for them saying the summons was defective and said that Mr Mashaba would not comply with the summons tomorrow,” said the country’s second most senior judge.

Soni said the commission’s legal team immediately wrote back and dealt with the timing of the letter as it came after the proceedings dealing with Zuma’s non-attendance had been finalised.

He said they also dealt with Justice Zondo’s warning that Zuma’s non-attendance would have the consequences of emboldening potential witnesses from avoiding the commission.

Justice Zondo told would-be witnesses to take the summons to court and have them set aside but until that happened they remain effective.

”We are hoping that good sense prevails and Mr Mashaba will be here,” Soni said.

Swifambo is the company that scored a R3.5 billion contract to deliver locomotives to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA in August 2015.

The contract was set aside by the South Gauteng High Court in 2017.

Political Bureau

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